Understand Principles behind Practices

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Revision as of 22:46, 28 November 2008 by Sberczuk (Talk | contribs)
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Programmers often like rules. Having rules make things simple: You just do what your supposed to do. The problem occurs when people start following practices without understanding the principles the the rules enforce.

As an example, Test Driven Development is a great idea that can simplify code and make development less expensive over the lifecycle. But writing overly complicated tests can increase the complexity of the code, and increase the cost of the or writing the wrong test because you want to code "test first"

Being dogmatic about how things are done, and not taking the time to understand whether someone else on the team is doing something in the right spirit, but just different from how you would do it can erode innovation, and help the team to be less effective.

Following rules dogmatically can be helpful when you are trying something new to force you to change your mindset, and you can get into trouble customizing the rules before you have had a chance to change your mindset.

Whenever you see someone on your team doing the "wrong" thing, take the time to understand.

By Steve Berczuk

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3

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